Use work-life balance questions to help determine your situation and identify areas that need improvement.
Work-life balance is not always easy to define, but the accepted consensus is that people need a fulfilling life outside of work to do their best at work. The definition encompasses more than the hours spent at each and is more of a mindset that differs between individuals. In dealing with this complex issue, it helps to ask yourself a series of work-life balance questions. The answers can lead to clarity, important actions and change for the good.
Most employees accept that their manager may occasionally expect more from them than what is in the job description. The problem arises when work expectations are so high that people begin experiencing physical and mental distress because of it. Companies frequently assess the health of their culture, policies, and procedures through surveys and questionnaires. Likewise, individuals should ask themselves important questions to see if they need to make adjustments to regain work-life balance.
Do I have clear boundaries?
Determining if you have a good work-life balance is not always easy. You may be so accustomed to stress and working long hours that you cannot see the imbalance in your life. Reflecting on the questions below and answering them honestly can help you see your situation realistically. That, in turn, can motivate you to achieve better work-life balance.
- Have you noticed subtle changes in your physical health? Persistent stress eventually takes a toll on your body. Fatigue, a weakened immune system, and skin breakouts are just three examples of how long hours can affect you physically.
- Is work the last thing on your mind when you fall asleep at night? If so, you could be suffering from anxiety that makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
- How often do you check texts and emails for work when you are at home? While the occasional call or text may be necessary, engaging in this practice too often shows a lack of boundaries.
- How often do you take work home? As with checking emails and texts, bringing work home too often blurs the line between your personal life and professional life.
- Does your company’s culture send the message that you need to drop whatever personal plans you might have had and respond to urgent situations at work? You may not be able to avoid this in a true emergency, but you should not consistently feel pressured to always put work first.
- Do you feel so physically and mentally exhausted from work each day that you cannot handle normal household responsibilities like cooking or paying bills? This is rarely a time management problem alone. Your personal life will unravel in a hurry if the pattern continues.
- Do your family or friends complain that they do not get to see you enough or that you are always tired or short-tempered? This is a red flag you need to pay attention to before it costs you certain relationships permanently.
The above questions are a lot to consider, but they can lead you toward work-life balance. Keep reading to learn what you can do to achieve greater balance and personal satisfaction.
How to regain work-life balance
Recognizing that your life balance is not what it should be is the first step towards improving it. Below are several actions you can take to improve life satisfaction while still maintaining great employee performance.
Decide how much time you need for exercise, meditation, and hobbies. Then schedule it into your week just like you would anything else.
- Set a reasonable work schedule and let your team members know your boundaries between work and home. Do not feel like you always need to work overtime just because it is available, even if it seems like your team members expect it.
- Prioritize your health. You cannot be a good employee, spouse, parent, or friend when you are constantly sick or in pain. Decide how much time you need for exercise, meditation, and hobbies. Then schedule it into your week just like you would anything else. Be sure to commit to a healthy diet and getting regular refreshing sleep as well.
- Delegate duties at home, if possible. Everyone who is old enough to pitch in should participate in chores to help keep your household running. If you are a single parent or have babies or toddlers, you may need to consider hiring outside help to get everything done and give you more free time.
- Develop a support system of people you can rely on when you are away at work. For example, maybe your mother could pick your child up from school when you are running late. Having a business mentor to vent to when you feel overwhelmed can help you talk through issues before you act irrationally due to stress.
- Request flex time. This can give you more control over your work life and greater job satisfaction.
Do not feel like you need to do all these things at once to improve your work life balance. Taking that approach can leave you feeling even more stressed than before you realized you needed to make changes.
Use work-life balance questions
Both employers and employees can fall into the trap of thinking that true work-life balance is unattainable. However, taking an honest assessment via a work-life balance survey may be just the motivation your company’s employees need. Committing to work-life balance also helps your organization attract top talent when the word gets out that employee well-being is an important part of company culture.